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Missing 20th Century Republican Roots….

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Regarding the desire of many on the left and among Democrats to see the GOP die, I have very mixed emotions. I remember a very different GOP: one which had lived through the Great Depression and WWII and was firmly committed to fiscal responsibility, rebuilding and renewing the homeland, staying out of foreign military engagements as much as possible, and creating economic growth and security for everyone.

With this ignorant and bombastic GOP, I say keep up the publicity ’cause they’ll continue to lose and maybe lose even more sooner if the current Democratic fundraising push has legs, provided, of course, that the GOP doesn’t rig the electoral game too much more in their favor regardless of what is in the best interests of a constitutional democratic Republic. (FYI, a lot of these sneaky gerrymandering, etc., actions were Cheney’s grand idea. Another reason to hate that rotten old SOB.)

Movement conservative GOP libertarian ideology

Yes, I do want them to lose because they do not represent the GOP I grew up knowing and appreciating for their conservative yet economic moderation, understanding and knowledge of fiscal realities, their desire to rebuild and renew the American physical and economic landscape, and to keep Americans out of more wars. The modern conservative movement, and its many faceted coalition, no longer represent, let along understand, what those earlier Republicans stood for or helped build. Let alone why.

On the other hand, I’d like to see a renewal of a more centrist, post WWII like GOP, aka Eisenhower or Rockefeller Republican party, who were fiscally responsible (as in raised taxes to keep deficits and spending down), did not believe in American Imperialism or being the world’s great cops and liberty bringers, and recognized that the way to create both wealth and a strong functioning society was build the up middle class by providing economically family sustainable jobs and economic opportunity (including quality k-12 and affordable higher education) to anyone who worked hard enough to rise up through the ranks as two of my uncles did within major corporations to senior management ranks.

Those same old-fashioned Republicans, now called RINOs and who have been driven from the party by the Limbaughs, Ericksons, Coulters, and Hannitys of the GOP infotainment media universe, were the ones who also believed in efficient but enforced financial regulations that kept our financial system sound for 50 years. A financial soundness they knew had never happened before in the nation’s history, but at the same time empowered tremendous growth and development of new businesses, quite often through the sharing of financial and information resources of combined government and private enterprise.

Those Republicans had lived through the Great Depression and deeply understood the economic, family, and social harm caused by that speculative financial crash. Even Reagan proudly said he was an FDR Democrat (and a union head) until the ’60s when Democrats went too far left (and yes, Reagan was wrong on Medicare – the best thing the nation could do today economically would be to let go of its obsession with employer provided health care for one of the other OECD models in order to save well over a trillion dollars annually. But many like Reagan believed the AMA denunciations of Medicare way back when).

They, too, had experienced real war, unlike most in the GOP today who either like McCain cannot forget, let alone forgive, leaving Vietnam without winning, or hold to a Cheney-Kristol neo-con belief in American Imperialism that would have been antithetical to the Greatest Generation Republicans who fought WWII. Anyone who had read the dispatches of Ernie Pyle – there’s an out of print book of them and his diaries – quickly understands why Eisenhower kept the US out of more wars. Most of today’s leading GOP pundits and followers hold fast to their guns but have absolutely no knowledge or experience with actual realities of war. I’d bet few of them have ever seen the mid-1950s TV series, “Victory at Sea” that was aired every Sunday morning. They think guns, shooting, et al, are all fun and games kind of like a video game. But Ernie Pyle wrote about the dirty, bloody underside of war. Embedded with Army, he wrote about slogging through the mud, the American GIs (and himself) exhausted and worn out; seeing the bombed, bloody body parts of American GIs he knew spread across the landscape; seeing and feeling death and destruction everywhere as the Army moved north in Italy towards Germany.

My father and mother’s generation had lived through the hell of the Great Depression and WWII. My Dad rode the rails as a teenager, looking for work to send money home to his family and to support himself. My mom’s family lost their home and moved into a cousin’s barn, while my grandfather walked the highways and streets of eastern Washington, selling spices door to door. My dad convinced his mother to lie about his age so he could join the Army and later transferred to the Army Air Corps because he was allergic to horses. He and two other uncles became part of the USAF during WWII. Dad flew missions over Africa. My two other USAF uncles flew missions over Germany. Another uncle was lost when his ship was sunk in the Pacific. That is what Eisenhower knew about war and what today’s neo-cons have never experienced war and do not know…and have never experienced. They never joined up. They have never known the dirt and exhaustion, the horrors of the killing and the ugliness of death.

These prissy gun-toting haters of our social safety net have never experienced the fear, loss and devastation that my parents and grandparents went through. Worse, they don’t care to even learn or even understand. But the Eisenhower and Rockefeller Republicans knew just as Democrats of that era knew. Just as my Republican parents and grandparents knew. They had seen and lived through the worst of deregulation and speculation as well as the real horrors of war. They demanded stability, economic growth and opportunity for a better life than the one in which they had grown into adulthood. They demanded some sense of economic security and the knowledge that the killing was over. They supported reasonable, sound gun laws, as did the NRA in those days, to end the killing of which they had seen far too much.

They supported a social safety net because they knew how easily it was to lose everything they had worked years to achieve to be left with nothing: not homes, not jobs, not businesses, and often without families. They approved of restrictive regulations on Wall St. to prevent another Great Depression, caused by over speculation and gambling. Even the very McKinley-like Lochner SCOTUS eventually finally gave way to public demand for more social equity that put workers on a equal footing with owners and eventually gave way for more new business development and opportunity.

These are the reasons why Reagan was an FDR Democrat until the overreach of Democrats in the ’60s. For all of the GOP’s glorification of Reagan, they have quite literally forgotten, or chosen to ignore, what he had lived through and who he really was. They’ve twisted him into a McKinley laissez-faire hero he never was. In truth, he probably felt closer to a Rockefeller Republican with a great deal of sympathy for 1950s McCarthy-Bircher anti-communistic ideology. There is no where in his record of actions, legislation or speeches in which he preaches a laissez-faire, libertarian ideology. He was a real product of both the Great Depression and World War II…not of the cynical, selfish, ignorant modern movement conservative. I know. I lived in California, as an adult, during his Governorship as well as his Presidency. I watched him and I saw him. He is nothing like what modern conservative claim him to have been. Even his breaking of the Air Traffic Controllers Union was a product of union over reach rather than a hatred of unions. As a union negotiator, he knew and understood the values of unions in protecting the membership’s wages and benefits as opposed to inflating corporate profits at the expense of workers.

So, if and when the GOP returns to its 20th Century, post Great Depression, roots, I will begin to root for it as my parents did. Until then, I will pray – and work towards – for the national and state wide demise of its current incarnation. I believe our nation – and all her people – deserves better than the current GOP.

Increasing Employment and GDP

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Economic IndicatorsIf the Republicans in Congress had passed President Obama’s American Jobs Act the following would have occurred:

  • Goldman Sachs economists estimated that the AJA would increase GDP by 1.5 percent, before any multiplier effects.
  • Thomas Lam, of the economic advisory firm OSK-DMG, estimated that the bill would boost GDP by 1.8 percent.
  • Macroeconomic Advisers estimated that the boost would be 1.3 percent.
  • Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Economy, put the boost at 2 percent of GDP.
  • The Economic Policy Institute estimated that the new initiatives in the AJA would increase GDP by 1.9 percent, while policy extensions it included would increase GDP by another 1.4 percent.
  • The Congressional Budget Office scored the bill as a net deficit reducer over a ten year budget window.
  • Since none of these organizations are particularly Democratic leaning partisans, it’s hard to imagine they would “fudge” the numbers.

So who stopped the economy from growing more rapidly? Who stepped on the breaks? It’s only a short logical leap, given what Republicans have been saying for the last four years, to determine who hit the breaks and why this bill failed to pass.

Come November, every voter should remember – or be reminded of – these statistics, especially if they don’t have a job or are underemployed or own a small business. They should be reminded that there was a plan, presented by President Obama, that the GOP opposed purely to score political points, rather than choosing to save the economy – and create jobs and economic growth.

Feel free to tweet or reblog this or any my blogs. The economy – people’s lives and solutions – are far more important than political party wins. No Republican Congress in my long lifetime, prior to Gingrich, ever strangled economic growth for purely partisan reasons. The nation deserves better.

Written by Valerie Curl

July 31, 2012 at 9:44 AM

The GOP’s Bizarre, Disturbing Passion for Raising Taxes on the Poor

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James Kwak, co-author of 13 Bankers and White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters to You and the popular economics blogBaseline Scenario, rightly Congressional Republicans for wanting to increase taxes on the poor while making certain the rich see not one dime of tax increase.

Eric Cantor

As Bruce Bartlett reminds us in his latest Economix column, leading Republican figures, including Eric Cantor, as well as a majority of party members, argue that taxes should go up … on the poor. They are talking about the famous “47 percent” who don’t pay federal income taxes.

This overlooks several facts. One, which Bartlett points out, is that many people don’t pay income tax because of the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit, both of which were increased in the Republicans’ 2001 tax cut. (The child tax credit also originated in the 1997 budget bill, when Republicans controlled both houses of Congress. The earned income tax credit has a longer history, but has been periodically expanded by both political parties.)

Another is that focusing on federal income taxes is misleading, especially now that payroll taxes bring in almost as much money as the individual income tax. If you include payroll taxes, it turns out that only 18 percent of households pay no direct federal taxes.

The “47 percent” figure also ignores the question of why some people don’t pay direct federal taxes. The majority of people who don’t pay either income or payroll taxes are the elderly–largely because (a) Social Security benefits aren’t taxable for most beneficiaries and (b) many of the elderly no longer work. If Eric Cantor wants to solve the “problem” of people not paying federal taxes, he should push to make Social Security benefits taxable. Good luck with that.

Almost all of the other households that don’t pay direct federal taxes make less than $20,000 per year. So, it turns out, the only people that Republicans want to raise taxes on are the very poor — and they want to do it so much that they are willing to consider breaking the Pledge.

Kwak argues that this dramatic change in Republican tax policy results in Class Warfare against the poor and those struggling in this economy.

Two explanations jump to mind. The first is that the modern Republican Party is funded by the very rich. Since the 1970s, electoral politics has gotten much more expensive (in real terms). As political scientist Thomas Ferguson and others have argued, modern political parties have adapted by granting leadership positions to those members best able to bring in large contributions–a strategy pioneered by Newt Gingrich but since slavishly imitated by the Democrats.

The result is that the parties’ platforms now reflect the wishes of their major funders, not their median voters. This is why Republican presidential candidates spent the primary season competing to offer the most generous tax breaks to the rich–while Paul Ryan’s budget slashes Medicare, a program supported by the Tea Party rank and file. For the rich people who call the shots, it’s simply in their interest to lower taxes on the rich and raise them on the poor. End of story.

The other, even-more-disturbing explanation, is that Republicans see the rich as worthy members of society (the “producers”) and the poor as a drain on society (the “takers”). In this warped moral universe, it isn’t enough that someone with a gross income of $10 million takes home $8.1 million while someone with a gross income of $20,000 takes home $19,000.* That’s called “punishing success,” so we should really increase taxes on the poor person so we can “reward success” by letting the rich person take home even more. This is why today’s conservatives have gone beyond the typical libertarian and supply-side arguments for lower taxes on the rich, and the campaign to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich has taken on such self-righteous tones.

This just goes to show how pathological the Republican Party has become. It would be so much simpler, more logical, and more politically appealing if they would just draw a line against higher taxes for anyone. That’s what the Taxpayer Protection Pledge does, and it makes a certain amount of sense, even if I think it’s bad policy. The fact that Eric Cantor feels compelled to go out of his way to talk about raising taxes on the poor shows how the nasty instinct for class warfare is undermining what should be a simple, small-government agenda.

*Those are at 2011 tax rates, including the employee’s share of payroll taxes, assuming that the rich person makes $2 million in salary and $8 million in capital gains. Note that the effective rate of 19 percent is still significantly higher than those of Mitt Romney and Warren Buffett.

Personally, I find increasing taxes on the poor so they have “some skin in the game” morally offensive. Increasing taxes on poor people quite literally means taking food out of children’s mouths or clothes off their backs. What kind of morality is that says poor families should suffer even more, especially the innocent children?

If Republicans and others are really concerned poor people not paying any taxes, then why aren’t they working to increase the educations and skills of poor people so those people can get better paying jobs? Why aren’t Republicans pushing to increase wages for the lowest paying jobs so low income people can afford to pay taxes without harming the health and welfare of their children?

Written by Valerie Curl

June 8, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Making Government Work Better

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David Frum, contributor to Newsweek/The Daily Beast and CNN, explains what has changed in American politics since the 1950s to now. As a card-carrying Republican, he states what he sees is wrong in the American political landscape, from self-serving false patriotism to selfishness to 30 years of growing inequity, and challenges American voters to their better angels.

I absolutely agree with everything Frum says in this video.

It’s well known to my readers that I heartily disapprove of current GOP policies, as epitomized in the Ryan Budget and Romney’s stated policy to reduce taxes on the wealthiest from 35% to 28% while increasing the defense budget to 4% of GDP.

What these numbers mean is a further tax break for the wealthy of over $250,000 to over $350,000 annually and increase in defense spending from its current level of approximately $800 billion to $1,250 billion. Or, to put it another way, he’d boost defense spending to $1.250 Trillion .

Meanwhile, revenues would decrease from the historic average of 18% to 20% of GDP to approximately 15% – or where revenues have been since the height of the financial crisis and resulting Great Recession…at a time when the Boomer generation is retiring and even more federal revenues are required.

As has been pointed out by every non-partisan, reputable tax analysis, making the changes proposed by Ryan and Romney, to balance the budget, would require gutting the entire federal government, leaving only Social Security, Defense, and interest on the debt.

Everything else the American people have come to rely upon, from food, drug, and product safety to NOAA’s weather service to every fragment of the social safety net, would disappear from the federal government…unless the government borrowed even larger amounts from foreign countries.

Imagine you’re a farmer in Nebraska who depends upon NOAA’s weather service to provide you with the latest weather data so you know the best weather related time to plant or harvest or provide extra water to your crops. Without NOAA’s weather service, you’d be right back to where your ancestors were in the 1800s, reduced to hoping and praying that you and your family are not wiped out by a freak storm.

Imagine if every time you went to the grocery store or the pharmacy, you had to wonder, hope and pray that what you purchased was safe for your family. For your children to consume.

By and large, American consumers haven’t had to worry about product safety for well over a half century. We’ve just bought, confident in the knowledge the government inspected products, by and large, insured their safe consumption.

Are you willing to return to insecurity, to not knowing what you bought was safe or contaminated as we discovered with Chinese imported lead painted toys and adulterated baby formula? Or drugs that produce horrible side effects, from devastating birth abnormalities to early deaths? Only the federal government has the financial wherewithal to manage these life threatening contingencies for a national population of 300+ million people. Are you really willing to give all that security up?

Imagine you live near a manufacturing plant where maybe you work. You’ve invested your and your family’s whole life savings into your home and your job. That manufacturing plant, however, produces tons of toxic waste that, without EPA regulations and oversight, is dumped in rivers, drinking water, breathable air and onto the land to reduce manufacturing costs. Since Nixon created the EPA, Americans have not seen burning rivers, but those scenarios could return without the EPA.

Imagine, too, that no federal agency protected you, an average worker, from some cut back in safety so the company could make more profits? Prior to TR’s and FDR’s reforms, that is exactly what happened and caused so many worker revolts at the turn of the 20th Century. For example, it was not uncommon for railroad workers to be killed or dismembered on the job. Best selling books from major early 20th Century American authors described corporate practices and the multitudes of worker deaths in detail. The stories made headlines across the nation of companies that put worker safety well below profits. Do you really want to return to the 1890s era of Robber Barons?

These are only a few examples of what the federal government does in protecting the American people. There are thousands more examples of negative effects on the nation as a whole if the Ryan-Romney budgets go into effect.

For example, if the Ryan-Romney budgets go into effect, States would be furthered burdened fiscally to support their populations and schools, causing further increases in state taxes or greatly reduced spending for normal services such as schools, health care and income support payments to the least able, product safety, infrastructure, and a host of other programs the federal government now pays for. Moreover, traditional state functions such as fire, police and schools would be dramatically hit without hugely increased state taxes. In addition the overall burden on families and small businesses would increase dramatically as states attempted to balance the needs of citizens for safety and security with tax revenues.

Frum wrote on his Daily Beast blog that the further he became involved in writing his novel, Patriots, the more angry he became, not because the federal government spends too much or does too much but because the political system, as it currently exits, slants far too much on the side of the politically connected and powerful, distorting the national conversation away from solutions that benefit all Americans towards those with a self-serving agenda. I agree with Frum.

The United States is a $15 Trillion economy. The world’s largest economy. The country, by any means, is not broke. What this nation really experiences is a distorted economy that has not existed since the late 19th century during the Gilded Age of Robber Barons. Fixing the economy…and the lives of millions of American families that have seen their opportunities decrease over the last 30 years…requires truth and real patriotism as Frum states in this video.

So, as Frum asks, what are you going to do?

The Commons vs Liberteriansim

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The story line to this post is a person who lost a job and has not been able to find another and is suffering the normal economic hazards of living. The person is a libertarian who adamantly believes that government should not help or provide temporarily support those out of work, that a person should be self-sufficient and self-sustaining without the help of the “commons.” But that ideology goes against everything that history teaches us of the commons and the commonweal.

Out of Work - Wolf at the Door

Now, think about this. When you were working part of your taxes was allocated to programs to help the unemployed and working poor. Those programs were put in place in aid the poor while paying for the services the poor needed. No free lunch.

Now that you need those services, there is nothing wrong with using them…except our own belief in self-determinism and our own self-image. No one I know wishes to take welfare in any form, from unemployment to food stamps to WIC. We all would prefer a job that enabled us to pay our bills, purchase our food, buy our own health care, and so on. But we’ve been captured by an economy that is in the midst of a great disruption.

As you’ve experienced, libertarianism – a total John Wayne mythologized self-sufficiency – doesn’t put food on the table or pay the rent when jobs don’t exist.

Throughout history, people came together to help each other, and each gave up some individual freedoms to secure the benefits of the commons. Stories abound of the plains settlers coming together to help a neighbor put up a barn or help each other harvest their crops or provide foodstuffs to a family in temporary need. In early modern England, farming families lived in towns along with shopkeepers, artisans and laborers to secure the benefits of community while their farmlands – considered the commons – surrounded their town and in which every member of the community was expected to protect and held an economic share.

I posit that as a people, this nation lost its sense of the commons post-WWII with the rise of bedroom communities where neighbors don’t know each other, let alone care about them. Libertarianism only fuels that kind of isolation and community breakdown. People no longer even understand the concept, let alone the definition, of “commonweal.” To live only for oneself, without realizing our common need for others, serves only to break down the bonds that hold societies together and, thus, creates chaos.

Every American, as result of our pioneer spirit of self-sufficiency, self-determinism, and self-identification with our jobs, feels shame at accepting help, no matter how much it’s needed. Those factors differentiate us from the previous generations of social democracies that dominated Europe. We believe in work and self- identify ourselves with our work. That is our heritage and our future, regardless of who occupies the White House.

So, while you may feel ashamed to need help or to take governmental support, you need not believe you are breaking your beliefs because your libertarian beliefs do not acknowledge the commons. It is far better to accept governmental support to which you’ve paid into than to use your “wiles” to elicit freebies, which is nothing more than immoral stealing.

As a moral person, who began working at the age of 16, I would rather you accepted food stamps and other governmental help than cheat or con others out of the fruits of their labor. Because in doing so, those actions are truly immoral whereas using temporary governmental support, for which you’ve paid or is given freely, may bruise your ego, it does not require you to lie or cheat or con another out of their hard labor.

Written by Valerie Curl

November 15, 2011 at 9:39 AM

Putting America First

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Manufactruring workerFor several years, even before the Great Recession hit as a result of the collapse of the financial markets and credit crisis in 2009, I’ve been searching for the best ideas from across the spectrum of political and social ideas to revitalize America’s manufacturing economy.

Frankly, I never bought into the idea that the US should become a service economy. I don’t know why, but intuitively it felt wrong. It appears history has borne out my intuition correctly.

Detroit and the great manufacturing centers of the Midwest did not become the Rest Belt overnight in 2009. The slow loss of manufacturing began as early as 1979, accelerating to rapid proportions by 2006. Today only 9 out of every 100 workers work in manufacturing as opposed to the forty years leading up to the Second World War, when the percent of U.S. employment in manufacturing was a fairly consistent 30% or so, and followed by the three decades thereafter, when, despite the introduction of new service sector jobs as post-War manufacturing incomes rose, the percentage of manufacturing jobs still consistently hovered at around 25%.

As Leo Hindery, Jr., Chairman of the US Economy/Smart Globalization Initiative at the New America Foundation and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, writes:

In sum, America, with just 9% or so of its employees working in manufacturing, suffers economically in multiple ways when it competes against large-scale trading partners which, percent-wise, have multiples more workers in the sector. We suffer in the magnitude of our trade deficit, the progressiveness of our average wage, the extent of income inequality, the amount of our federal indebtedness, and the pressures put on our nation’s state and municipal budgets.

However, the U.S. can develop trade and training policies that mimic best practices from other countries. In Germany, for example, 22% of its workers are engaged in manufacturing, with 25% of GDP coming from that sector. Today, manufacturing in the U.S. only amounts to 11% of GDP.

From the Washington Post:

In 2009, the German government created a job-sharing program called “Kurzarbeit” in which companies agreed that instead of laying off workers, they would cut back their hours, with the government making up the difference in pay. Germany replaced lost income for at least 1.4 million workers. While they were off the job, many of them took training classes.

The program saved nearly 500,000 jobs, according to a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The result was that as the global economy began to pick up speed again last year, German companies were ready to ramp up with the right workforce in place. The government budgeted about $7.5 billion for the program.

But that’s not all Germany did to protect its manufacturing base. It instituted a trade policy that demanded for every shipload of imports, an equal shipload of exports. That kind of trade policy bolstered its manufacturing sector and supported the nation’s economy and its workers. Inflation-adjusted average hourly pay has risen almost 30 percent since 1985 in Germany, the kind of gains American workers have not enjoyed since the ’50s and ’60s. In this country, hourly pay has risen a scant 6 percent since 1985.

China, likewise, demands certain benefits to its economy when pursuing trade about which much has been written, including its lack of meaningful environmental and labor standards, currency manipulation and other subsidies, highly restrictive limitations on foreign goods purchases, and demands that countries seeking to do business in China first make massive transfers to it of their intellectual property.

Nineteen of the G20 countries have precise manufacturing and trade policies, and most bounced back faster and are doing far better economically than the U.S.

The United States simply cannot afford to have nearly 18% of its workforce either working part time at low wage jobs or unemployed for the next two decades as currently predicted. If the U.S. is going to attain historic employment levels of previous decades, Congress and the Administration must develop our own manufacturing and trade policy that puts America first.
That doesn’t mean isolationism or the 1930s Smoot-Hawlings trade protectionism that led to trade wars, but a rational trade policy that put American manufacturing on an equal footing with our international competitors…and provides the kind of job training and security that Germany smartly instituted a couple of years ago.

Written by Valerie Curl

July 3, 2011 at 5:33 PM

Can the U.S. still innovate to create jobs?

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Fareed ZakariaLast weekend, Fareed Zakaria returned to an issue he’s often discussed on this CNN show, Global Public Square (GPS) and in his editorials at TIME. The subject is Innovation in the U.S. and American Employment.

In his June 5th TIME editorial, Zakaria notes that even though

U.S. GDP is now about $13.5 trillion, a bit above what it was in 2007, before the financial crisis. The bad news is that we are producing the same amount of goods and services as in 2007 with 7 million fewer workers. The number of Americans who are unemployed has roughly doubled, and though that number is declining, it is doing so very slowly. Most new jobs are for part-time work at wages that average $19,000, less than half the median income. The official unemployment number does not include the millions who have stopped looking for work or are working part time. Add these categories and the actual number of Americans without a real full-time job would be closer to 24 million.

While that’s bad news for American workers, Zakaria pinpoints five areas in which US policy should focus to increase employment and begin the process re-engaging in innovative thinking:

Manufacturing – “Focus on technical education, technical institutes and polytechnics, as well as apprenticeship programs. Specialize in high-end, complex manufactured products that can command a premium price. Call it the BMW model. Or, for that matter, the Pratt & Whitney model.”

Retraining – “Like the GI Bill, it would have to be a program in which government paid a large share of the costs while educational institutions provided the services. The private sector should also get involved by identifying what jobs the economy needs and creating apprenticeships and internal training to match up with national efforts.”

Growth Industries – Identify what business sectors are growing or are likely to grow over the next couple of decades and how can the US not only encourage them here in the US but also make them attractive to foreign populations. For example, since the US has the best health care innovation in the world, how can the US use and market this innovation to create health care tourism to attract people worldwide to come to the US for health related treatment?

Small Business – “The Kauffman Foundation has found that from 1980 to 2005, nearly all net job creation in the U.S. occurred in firms that were less than five years old. That suggests that we should focus on improving the ecosystem for start-ups and small businesses by funding basic research, streamlining the patent process, limiting regulation and encouraging venture-capital and private-equity companies that fund new ventures.”

Jobs for Now – “The American Society of Civil Engineers gave U.S. infrastructure a grade of D and estimated that we need to spend $2.2 trillion to fix our airports, bridges, highways and train systems. Senators John Kerry and Kay Bailey Hutchison have made innovative proposals that would fund infrastructure projects through a national bank, allowing the private sector to participate, as it does in many countries.”

More recently, Zakaria launched, in association with the New America Foundation, a web series called Global Innovation Showcase. Featuring articles from business leaders, economists, and experts in various fields, the series explores ways in which America can once again become the world’s innovation leader, instead of last as noted in a recent report of 40 countries.

If the US is going to create new jobs and new businesses, new political ideas and philosophies must be developed alongside innovation in the marketplace. What worked in the 1980s and ‘90s are not applicable today. The world has changed too much. It’s akin to saying, “the horse and buggy worked for my grandparents, so why would I need a car?” Economies are not static; they are dynamic beasts subject to constant change and creative destruction.

Obviously, obsessive government support of old, legacy industries has not created a flood of innovation or reduced an unemployment rate that’s becoming fast structural rather than cyclical. Moreover, every reputable study shows that new businesses – those companies that are 5 years old or younger – are the real job creators, not large corporations or small businesses like your corner market. These new businesses tend to be innovators, developing technologies and products that disrupt the market while producing huge growth and employment opportunities.

As a result, politicians must begin to think about new ways to encourage new businesses and innovation: what policies will foster the creation and growth of new businesses and innovation?

At the same time, politicians must develop policies to support the American worker in ways that reduce unemployment through retraining as noted above, public – private partnerships to retain jobs rather than utilizing layoffs to decrease balance sheet employment costs, and restructuring unemployment compensation to help unemployed workers retain or increase their job skills.

I encourage everyone to visit the Global Innovation Showcase and read all the articles. Begin to think about new methods of doing things, both in politics and the marketplace.

Written by Valerie Curl

June 8, 2011 at 4:49 PM

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